A 28-YEAR-OLD former karting champion has died following a lifelong battle with cancer.
Josh O'Malley began racing with Hoddesdon Kart Club at Rye House Raceway at the age of five and by the time he reached junior level was regularly topping the championship table.
At the age of 21, Josh's proudest moment came when he won the National Kart Racing Association National Championship.
In recent years he was a familiar face at Rye House, providing karts and spare parts and coaching the next generation of drivers.
However, at the age of four Josh, from Hemel Hempstead, was given just six months to live having been diagnosed when he was two with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer affecting the nerves.
Dad Kevin said: "Even at that early age he had a look that said 'this is not going to beat me'. At times he must have been in pain, but never complained. The nurses were always laughing at his antics."
A year later the tumour seemingly disappeared, allowing Josh to lead a life like any other youngster.
Josh worked at Rye House-based Motor Sport World kart shop for several years, during which time he travelled to the Far East dealing with suppliers and worked as a consultant setting up an indoor karting track.
Most recently he formed NewKart Ltd at Rye House in partnership with Nick Jest from NJR Motorsports in Stanstead Abbotts, coaching several young drivers.
However, Josh suffered a relapse a couple of years ago and lost his battle with cancer on February 23.
The next Hoddesdon Kart Club race meeting on Sunday April 1 will be renamed the Josh O'Malley Memorial Cup in his honour.
Jason Robinson, vice chairman at the club, said: "Although we are robbed of a caring and courageous person, Josh will always be remembered by family and friends.
"In the 20-odd years from his first illness, he really did live life to the full."
Published in the Herts & Essex Observer on Mar. 13, 2012